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A recent Forbes article caught my eye.  It was called 6 Parts Of Your Estate Plan You Should Review Now. For weeks we have been talking about how the recent Stay-at-Home order gives people an excellent opportunity to review and update their estate plan.  The article lists six specific things to consider:

  1. Power of Attorney and Health Care Power of Attorney
  2. Your Will
  3. Your Trust
  4. Trust Funding
  5. Beneficiary Designations
  6. Estate Tax Opportunities

While the entire article is worth reading, I instead want to focus on two things I think are the most important: Trust Funding and Beneficiary Designations.

Trust Funding

Many of our clients come to us to get a Trust set up.  One of the main benefits to a Trust is that Trust assets do not need to go through probate to pass to your heirs.  The critical phrase there was “Trust assets.”  If you do, you put your assets in your Trust, then in some ways having a Trust is meaningless.

With our clients, we work immediately with them to make sure their Trust is funded.  We help them convey their house into the Trust, and we work with them to ger their other pieces of persona property in the Trust also.  A fully funded Trust is the only way to make sure your assets can pass to your heirs without having to go through probate.

Beneficiary Designations

Some assets do not have to go through probate even if you do not have a Trust – accounts with Beneficiary Designations.  Think life insurance, IRAs, investment accounts… things like that.  However, these accounts only pass outside of probate if there are updated beneficiary designations.  Make sure that your current wishes are reflected in your beneficiary designations.  We have seen too many cases where ex-spouses are still listed on life insurance policies.

If you have questions about your current Trust funding, or just need help making sure your beneficiary designations are correct, you can book a Strategy Session with our firm HERE.

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